live it active

Start a Streak

Recently, I had the opportunity to hear Derrick Spafford – a running coach and trainer, writer, and exercise enthusiast – speak at a local event. In 1989, Derrick started what he has coined a “streak” of running. Since that day in December (I believe) he has not taken a single day off running. I was immediately impressed at his undying loyalty to this streak. I didn’t however, think of what running everyday for over 20 years really entailed.

Derrick has run with a fever of over 104 degrees Fahrenheit. He has run with a broken ankle by using crutches and running snow shoes. He also managed to fit his daily run in during the birth of his child. He looped back to the hospital every 3 1/2 minutes to check in.

Crazy? Perhaps. 

Derrick however, seems quite aware of how this streak may appear to others – completely insane. Yet he didn’t seem to care. While listening to him speak I didn’t question his sanity, only marvel at his fierce and unwavering dedication to putting his running shoes on, getting out the door and being active in some form or another every single day.

So I started a streak. I am doing 10 push-ups a day. Forever.

I encourage you to find an activity, a stretch, a movement, anything associated with being physically active and make a streak out of it. It’s fun, it’s different, and if nothing else, it’s a fantastic conversational piece.

I bet that once you start your streak and really get into it, you’ll want to do more. So even if you start out small (like 10 push-ups a day) your streak could take you places, perhaps places you never even thought possible (like doing 20 push-ups in a row).

Go on, start a streak.   



The truth about sitting…

Statistics Canada recently reported that only 15% of adult Canadians meet the Canadian physical activity guidelines. The guidelines recommend that adults exercise for 30 minutes per day at a moderate to vigorous intensity all or most days of the week. So what is the remaining 85% of the population doing?

Sitting – well, for the most part.

Approximately 69% of Canadians waking hours are spent in sedentary pursuits. Sedentary pursuits include a variety of sitting activities such as reading, writing, television watching, computer time and time spent in travel. In recent years the study of “sedentariasm” has become extremely popular. This is largely due to the introduction of a variety of tools that can objectively measure activity patterns outside the laboratory setting. Most will know the pedometer that measures the number of steps one takes, but many will not have heard of the accelerometer. Instead of counting steps it measures movement. Researchers have been able to link activity patterns measured using such tools with a variety of health outcomes.

So what have they found? Well, simply that sitting is bad and being active is good. Sedentary time has been found to have independent and deleterious effects on a variety of metabolic pathways in your body. Unfortunately, these changes that happen due to prolonged sitting are not necessarily reversed by exercising. Even if you meet the Canadian physical activity guidelines but spend the majority of your day sitting at a desk you are at a greater risk for premature mortality than those who have more active occupations and lifestyles.

So what do you do? Do not worry, changing your occupation or completely revolutionizing your lifestyle is not necessary.There are some simple solutions that will improve both your short- and long-term health.

Firstly, break up the time you spend sitting at your desk. Take the stairs to the washroom on the floor above or below. Instead of taking the elevator or the escalator, take the stairs. Breaks in sedentary time have been found to confer added health benefit.

Think about purchasing a standing computer work station. Not only will this break up your sitting time it is also great for improving joint problems, blood flow and preventing blood clots.

Critically think about how much television you watch – do you need to watch it? If you do enjoy your T.V. time (which I do) get up during the commercials. I like to save washing the dishes right after dinner so that I have to get up during commercials to get them done. Stretch while you are watching T.V. It feels great and as the saying goes, kills two birds with one stone.

Sitting time is impossible to avoid, but not impossible to make adjustments to. Take the time to think about some simple changes you can make to break up and alter your sitting time. You will be doing your internal workings a world of good.


Live Right Now

The CBC has launched an exciting new initiative titled “Live Right Now”. It is a campaign targeted at Canadians to improve their physical activity, nutrition, and weight. It has partnered with Loblaws and the Ontario Medical Association. To check it out:

The site is packed with information written by physicians, personal trainers and nutritionists. It encourages Canadians to pledge certain amounts of weight to lose and/or to pledge to complete another one of their many challenges.

CBC is a well-recognized and trusted brand amongst Canadians. For that reason I think this campaign will be well received and used. Well, at least I hope so. I am going to sign-up for one of the many challenges and I encourage you to as well. 

Go on, live right now and live it active!


The beginning…

The world of blogging is far more accessible than I thought. A friend sent me a link to her site and I thought to myself “I may be able to do this”. So far, so good.

I have been toying with the idea of writing something whether it be blog or book for the past year or so. It appears that the blog has won, and I am surprisingly excited about it given my severe lack of computer savvy.

This blog however, will really have nothing to do with my life. The primary focus of this blog will be to provide simple answers to more complex health related questions and issues. There is so much “health” information available on the web that it has become difficult to discern the truth from the garbage. Furthermore, I think the media’s narrow focus on weight and weight loss is disappointing given that so much benefit can be derived from being physically active (regardless of weight loss). I will touch on this issue soon and likely, more than once.

OK, let’s get started.


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